BOSTON (CBS) – There are ways to save on gift giving. Start by trimming your list down to a reasonable number of recipients. If you have a large family and you usually buy a gift for everyone in the family that can get very expensive. And it creates mayhem on the holidays.
For example, imagine a five year old who is the youngest of 10 grandchildren and she has four aunts who dote on her plus her grandparents. She sits in the midst of a mess after opening packages from everyone and innocently says, “Is that all?” She is not an ungrateful child. She’s just overwhelmed.
Consider putting everyone’s name in a hat and each family member draws a name. Or better still give only to the kids. The bonus, less shopping and you can afford nicer gifts. And as a family put a limit on the dollar amount spent on each gift. Make it reasonable for not everyone has the same earning capacity.
Consider buying a family gift rather than individual gifts for your sister’s kids. A gift that keeps on giving, one that can create memories.
How about a family game that most members of the family can play. Sequence is good for most 7 year olds can master the strategy. Another is Qwirkle, a board game for ages 6 and up. It’s like Dominos and Scrabble without the numbers or words.
How about a membership to the Museum of Science so the kids can learn about the Butterflies and the Bees. They are featuring a working beehive and a very peaceful butterfly garden exhibit overlooking the Charles River.
I remember spending many Saturday mornings there with my kids. Both ended up getting their engineering degrees from Tufts University, so you never know.
A membership to the Aquarium and after watching Happy Feet Two the kids will want to check out the penguins, which are my favorite at the Aquarium. How about a box of microwave popcorn and a gift certificate to Netflix or discounted tickets to the movies from Triple A.
How about tickets to a special event like Disney on Ice during Christmas vacation week? Go with them and take them out to dinner and then off to the Garden to create memories. If you have older boys on your list get them tickets to the Beanpot tournament in February.
Support our local zoos, The Franklin Park Zoo or the Stone Zoo; purchase a family membership and a book on gorillas to whet their interest. Our favorite exhibit was the anteaters.
Creating memoires are far better gifts that just wrapping a toy from the toy store.
One more thing: check out Black Friday’s update.